Background: Despite major efforts, factors that predict or correspond to the level of allergic symptoms remain elusive. Given our previous observations of mucosal interleukin-10 (IL-10) expression by local tissue cells and its described role as immune modulator, we hypothesized that, in allergic rhinitis, nasal mucosal IL-10 expression could influence the severity of symptoms.
Methods: In this study, we investigated endothelial IL-10 expression in nasal mucosa of healthy- and house dust mite allergic patients, both before and after provocation, and under nasal steroid therapy. Nasal turbinate biopsies were taken from healthy individuals as well as from house dust mite allergic patients, both before and after provocation. Allergic patients received fluticasone proprionate aqueous nasal spray or control treatment. In the allergic patients, endothelial IL-10 scores based on immunohistochemical stainings were correlated with allergic symptoms, measured by visual analog scores.
Results: At baseline, variable levels of endothelial IL-10 were detected in nasal biopsies. After nasal provocation, but not at baseline, endothelial IL-10 expression corresponded very closely to the allergic symptoms after allergen provocation. Low symptom scores were correlated with high endothelial IL-10 scores. This correlation disappeared after fluticason propionate treatment.
Conclusions: There is a large variation in the level of endothelial IL-10 expression both in healthy individuals and in house dust mite allergic patients. Endothelial IL-10 expression may affect local immune reactions resulting in reduced levels of allergic symptoms.